Sue Bird’s final professional basket in her childhood home of New York rimmed around, bounced up and fell through to put a definitive end to the Seattle Storm’s 81-72 win over the New York Liberty on Sunday.
Bird was playing near her home of Syosset, New York, for the final time in the regular season after she announced her retirement late last week. Liberty players wore “Thank you, Sue” T-shirts in their seafoam colors for warm-ups and Bird’s family and friends were in the Barclays Center crowd.
Storm (10-6) head coach Noelle Quinn took Bird, 41, out of the game after the made 3-pointer to a roaring ovation. Briann January, who is also retiring this season after a 14-year career, came in for the final 18 seconds.
The WNBA’s all-time assists leader, Bird put up 11 points, four assists and three rebounds in her final game in New York. She was hit one of two 2-point attempts and went 3-of-7 from 3-point range in 27:50 of game time. Afterward, in her post-game interview with ESPN sideline reporter Holly Rowe, she trolled Brooklyn fans.
“I do have one last thing to say — I don’t think the Brooklyn fans are going to like it — bing, bong,” Bird said in reference to the New York Knicks’ rallying cry.
Bird made her retirement official on Thursday while on the team’s East coast trip to Connecticut, where she won two NCAA championships with UConn, and New York, where she grew up. The Storm will not make the trip to the Liberty again, but will go back to Connecticut next month.
Gabby Williams leads Storm (UConn-West) in win
Gabby Williams, who also played at UConn, led the Storm with 23 points, shooting 10-of-15. She hit two of three 3-pointers and the team was 10-of-27. Williams added nine rebounds and three assists.
Breanna Stewart, a native of upstate New York and another UConn alumna, scored 18 points with nine rebounds, two assists, one block and one steal. Ezi Magbegor scored 10 with five rebounds, two assists, two blocks and a steal. Her block on Sabrina Ionescu midway through the third was the highlight of a tight game.
Sabrina Ionescu nears triple-double
Sabrina Ionescu nearly added another triple-double to her accolades. It would have put her into first place for most triple-doubles in WNBA history. Ionescu is only in her third season and missed most of her rookie year with an ankle injury.
Ionescu finished with 12 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds. At halftime she had seven points, eight assists and five rebounds. She had only one turnover in the second half to four in the first and was not as efficient at 5-of-14 overall and 2-of-6 from 3-point range.
The Oregon star holds the NCAA record for triple-doubles and became the fourth player with multiple ones when she pulled one off in a loss against the Chicago Sky exactly one week ago. It took her only three quarters, the quickest in WNBA history.
Marine Johannes led all Liberty (6-10) scorers with 23 points shooting 9-of-12, including 5-of-8 from 3-point range. She added four assists and three rebounds. ESPN and Rowe asked Johannes to do the second-half player interview and Johannes said she felt more comfortable doing it in French. So Rowe conducted it in fluent French and translated afterward for TV audience.
Social media users were impressed with the quick switch, but Rowe has done it before. She opened in French during an interview with Iliana Rupert during the 2021 WNBA draft.